She was a BIG star in a number of memorable films, and yet she was never a favorite of directors. The estimable Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who directed her in 1949′s A Letter To Three Wives, put it succinctly: I don’t like Jeanne Crain.
But audiences did, and Crain emerged as one of 20th Century Fox’s biggest attractions of the 1940′s, appearing in nearly 25 films for the studio and pulling down the equivalent (in today’s dollars) or more than $35,000 per week by the early 1950′s.
She later shifted to Warner Bros., Universal, and to tv but always said she “loved” working at Fox — I grew up there. In all, Crain’s career, begun as a teenager, stretched nearly 30 years, and included more than 55 movie and tv credits.
Crain, a devout Roman Catholic who mothered seven children by the same father (former RKO actor Paul Brooks), took on some surprisingly daring roles during Hollywood’s most productive period. She was an audience favorite for very good reasons.
Ok, let’s see how much you know about her career. Thus, our Jeanne Crain Quiz. As usual, questions today, answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: What does Crain have in common with these other actress/sexpots? a) Ann Sheridan; b) Sophia Loren; c) Elke Sommer; and Veronica Lake?
2) Question: Crain’s most acclaimed role was as a fair-skinned black girl who passes for white in the 1949 interracial drama, Pinky. Who was the renowned director chosen to helm the movie, and who was the equally famous director who finished it?
3) Question: Despite her wholesome looks and appeal, Crain was known for some time as Hollywood No. 1 “party girl.” Why? a) She really did party like a trooper; b) She was surprisingly sexual, with a fair sampling of lovers; c) She was a favorite of studio promotion parties; or d) It was a bad rap.
4) Question: Crain is well known as an actress, but she was also a very talented singer-dancer? a) True; or b) False?
5) Question: At one point, 20th Century Fox pushed to have Crain cast in the Eve Harrington role in 1950′s All About Eve. a) True; or b) False?